Protecting Your Future Begins with Securing The Strongest Defense Against Criminal Charges
Protecting Your Future Begins with Securing The Strongest Defense Against Criminal Charges
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Illinois and its stance on crimes of passion

Individuals who face murder charges in Illinois also face a minimum of 20 years to a maximum life sentence in prison. In short, a murder conviction can destroy a person’s life. For individuals who acted in the heat of the moment and who are otherwise “reasonable,” such a conviction can be downright devastating.

Some states recognize that a heat-of-the-passion mistake does not an evil person make. These states may downgrade a murder charge if the defendant can prove lack of premeditation or deliberation and provocation. If the defendant can prove these elements, the state may charge him or her with a “crime of passion.” For defendants in The Prairie State, the question is, does Illinois recognize crimes of passion?

Crime of passion

According to Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, a crime of passion is a passion that a person commits in response to provocation and in the heat of the moment. Crimes of passion are not the result of premeditation or deliberation, as first degree, or capital murder, crimes are.

In states that recognize crimes of passion, defendants may be able to secure reduced charges and, therefore, lesser punishments. The provocation defense exists to show that the law recognizes that even reasonable people can act irrationally in the face of certain provocations and without having the opportunity to reflect on the consequences of their actions.

Second-degree murder in Illinois

Illinois only recognizes two degrees of murder: first and second. The two, per state law, are very similar in nature, with mitigating factors being the only thing that distinguishes them. According to FindLaw, one such mitigating factor is provocation in the heat of the moment.

Though state law does not recognize “crimes of passion” per se, it does state that if, at the time of the killing, a person acted with an intense and sudden passion that the victim or another third party triggered through provocation, the state may downgrade the charge to second-degree murder. The defendant must prove that the provoking conduct is such that would impassion any other reasonable person.

A second-degree murder conviction can still devastate a person’s life. In addition to a four to the 20-year prison term, the accused may have to pay a fine of up to $25,000, plus a surcharge of $3,125. For the best possible outcome, a defendant in a murder case should seek aggressive legal counsel immediately.

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